'Pretty Little Liars' Finale Week
Pretty Little Liars Alex Drake

Pretty Little Liars Star Reflects on the 'Divisive' Series Finale Reveal, Clarifies a Popular Misconception About A.D.

Pretty Little Liars‘ series finale concluded with the long-awaited unmasking of its ultimate villain. And just like A.D., her portrayer was prepared for anything — even Internet backlash.

“You can’t satisfy everybody,” Troian Bellisario — whose character was revealed to have an evil British twin named Alex Drake (aka A.D.!) — admits to TVLine. “I’ve had to consciously remove myself from looking at people’s responses. As wonderful as it is when you get messages from people saying how much they like your performance, all you have to do is see that one person who’s like ‘This is stupid, I hate you’ and it’s gut-wrenching. Like, this is a story our creator came up with, and it’s my job to tell that story to the best of my abilities. So when someone says you were horrible, it’s hard not to take that in.”

Bellisario also notes that “with every other reveal on the show, it was OK if fans were upset, because everybody knew there would be more episodes with which to continue the story. This one is particularly divisive because it’s done after this. People are going to be left really loving it, or they’re going to have a bad taste in their mouth.”

Below, Bellisario further reflects on the big Alex reveal — including how she landed on that accent — and talks about Spencer’s “truthful” conclusion… or lack thereof.

TVLINE | Not only was this finale a huge undertaking, but so much of it hinged on your performance. I imagine that made for a high-pressure experience.
Oh, totally. When you show up on a set and you’re playing a new character, it takes a while to get into the rhythm and the heartbeat of that character. Usually, you have the opportunity to do auditions and callbacks and work on it, but with Alex, we had one episode with her. She had to spring into our eyes fully formed, and even though I got to play with her a little bit in the past, she was always impersonating Spencer. So I didn’t get to fully inhabit her until this finale. And it’s the last episode we’ll ever film, so to debut a whole new character in that environment was a trip.

TVLINE | It wasn’t until I heard Alex speak that it became real for me. How did you land on that specific dialect for her accent?
I really wanted to make her an Essex girl. Because she was going to have so many scenes with Wren, I wanted to make sure she sounded very different from him. If I just did a generic posh accent, it would be a little harder to hold onto. But if I was very specific, and I made her sound very different from [the other British characters], it’d be easier to tell that this is a living, breathing person from a specific place with a specific history. It was a little easier to take the turn because it was so sharp. Like, she wasn’t slightly British, she was fully over there. So that’s why it was important for me to work with a dialect coach to get a specific accent; she’s telling a whole story with the way that she speaks.

TVLINE | You mentioned Wren, so I have to ask: Did you and Julian Morris discuss all the stuff Alex did to him? I mean, she stole his sperm, killed him and turned him into a necklace.
[Laughs] Well, she didn’t steal his sperm. He had that one line where he said, “I even created life for you.” He was very aware and gave his sperm willingly to her cause. But even that’s very telling in terms of their relationship and what he was willing to do for her. Julian and I had spoken a lot about the couple, and we decided they were just this fire-and-fire couple. They were very tumultuous, possibly violent, but definitely passionate. It’s entirely possible that they could do these things to each other — that he could shoot her, and that she could kill him.

TVLINE | Marlene told me you guys only had Julian for one day of shooting. You did a lot with him, all things considered.
We did, and it was crazy. We actually thought he wasn’t going to be able to come at all, which was so scary, because he had been written into so many scenes. I think a lot of the scenes that ended up being between Alex and Spencer were originally between Wren and Spencer. I was grateful for what we got with him, but in a way, I was glad that those moments ended up being between the sisters. I really did want to have Alex be face-to-face with Spencer for a lot of the episode. It was my first time ever being purely Alex, and because we only had one day with Julian, I only had one chance to get it all right.

TVLINE | When you’re discussing your time on the show years from now, will you say, “I played Spencer”? Or will you say “I played Spencer and Alex”?
Well, I had years more time with Spencer, so if people recognize me on the street, they’re probably not going to yell out “Alex!” But Alex is also definitely a part of me. I’m so grateful that I got to play her in the last bit of the show.

TVLINE | Speaking of the last bit, Spencer was the only Liar who wasn’t either married or engaged by the end. How do you feel about that?
I liked it, because I thought it was really true. Because of everything Spencer went through with her family, it’s more truthful for her to be at the beginning of something, tentatively moving towards being with Toby again. Everybody else was married and building a family, which also makes sense. She was a little set back by what happened, and if we had jumped to her instantly marrying Toby and running off with him, I don’t think it would have been true to the trauma she went through.

Were you shocked by the Alex Drake reveal? Grade the series finale below, then drop a comment with your thoughts.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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24 Comments
  1. Jk says:

    This show really should have ended at least 4 seasons ago. I hate when a writer makes an intriguing mystery, but then you end up finding out they had no plan to resolve it.

  2. kmw says:

    TV LINE really adores this show, I think they have put more articles out about it than Gilmore Girls. The people who voted on this site about the finale sure hated it given the letter that has the most votes( and it isn’t an ” A”). but to each his own. I just wish that some other shows that ended this past season had gotten the attention PLL and Vampire Diaries did. Oh well. I have a feeling the way this show ended they are going to have a spin off or continuation of some sort sooner rather than later

  3. Paul says:

    Terrible end to what was once a pretty amazing mystery series. Marlene and Jj Abrams apparently suffer the same syndrome, create an amazing series and totally ruin the final season of it. The actresses did the best they could (except that abysmal accent) but the writing was bad at the end. Disappointed to have that kind of conclusion after so many loyal years of viewership. Cheap ending.

    • Rook says:

      How would you have ended it?

    • DL says:

      Regarding J.J. Abrams, if you’re referring to Lost, he wasn’t involved in the ending. That’s was all Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. Abrams’ last involvement with the show creatively was in Season 3. On the other hand, if you’re referring to Alias, well, you got me there.

  4. french5851 says:

    Loved it, such a great ending to a fun show.

  5. Aisha says:

    Actual British person here, absolutely not an Essex accent, at best it was Cockney (the type to make Dick Van Dyke wince) and then to add insult to injury, she wen randomly northern at some times. I’m a big Troian fan but I and every British person I’ve spoken to about this were struggling to get through those bits cos the accent was just so much. I get what she was going for, but it’s rare for North Americans yo nail the accent let alone go for Essex specifically which is basically our equivalent of Valley Girl

    • Christian says:

      Well you brits ain’t grand at impersonating American accents either!

    • Cate says:

      Good on her for trying, but it was very hit and miss. She got it right a few times but then it went again (different days of filming I guess.) even Tataiana Maslany, who is a phenomenal actress can be hit and miss with her English accent. To be honest if the show and the story is good enough and the actor convinces me about the character, I’m not to bothered if they sound iffy. I mean even Dick van Dyke was kind of charming!

  6. Jec says:

    The only good part of this story is that Spencer didn’t jump into marriage and kids. She’s 24 and after all the trauma she’s suffered, it’s good to see her take things slow and actually have a shot at a real relationship with Toby.

  7. Emily says:

    Love Trojan. She was really the best person to play AD.

    • DL says:

      Agree. She was the only actress on the show with acting chops to pull off an evil twin on such short notice, except for Janel Parrish (but that wouldn’t make sense — if anything Mona would have a good twin!). I really enjoyed the finale. A.D. was a fun villain and I was glad everything tied back to Charlotte so that “A” was still the catalyst for it all.

  8. Michael says:

    Such an amazing conclusion.

  9. Jooshua says:

    I don’t think she was bad. The cast has been great these last seven seasons. But to find out the biggest of all the bads is some character we’ve never even sort of known about it is extremely disappointing. I never thought I’d say this, but the Charlotte reveal was so much better. At least we knew her for a few years. It could’ve been Melissa and had the same impact as random Spencer twin.

  10. Cas says:

    I thought she was amazing. The accent not so much but I don’t care about that so much. I’m glad Toby and her ended up together.

  11. KP MOM says:

    I love the actors on this show. They are what kept me watching even while the writers destroyed it. Once A was revealed as CC/Charles/Charlotte with the gender bended twist, that should have been the end of this series. The entire AD plot was just stupid with the whole Mary Drake and secret twins nonsense. Glad it’s finally over.

    • Sharon says:

      I agree.The CC/Charles/Charlotte was a very clever twist and would have kept the series’ integrity intact. I was rather let down with a Spencer’s evil twin. I might have even been happier had it been Spencer.

  12. Television says:

    This whole reveal of Alex, the evil twin sister, yet again…it was horrible. The last 2 episodes ruined the whole series, it did not mesh at all with previous seasons or the vibe of the show or why they were in this situation. Plus, I’m sorry, but the accent was probably the worst I have ever heard, it was so terrible to try to figure out what she was saying and she was like a cartoon character with the over the top acting. Alex was SO unbelieveable as a person, she seemed really not that bright to pull any of this stuff off or be a mastermind at anything.

  13. Shannon says:

    Alright, so she didn’t nail the accent. Sometimes it sounded Australian, sometimes Irish, sometimes Eliza Doolittle. But her acting was superb as ever, so give her credit for trying. Whenever I try a British accent it comes out Aussie or Southern. She did a better job than most Americans could have.